Tabletop Tuesday: ‘Scoundrel Society’
Do you know what always kicks ass? Awesome and classy thieves. Danny Ocean, Lupin III, Catwoman, Robin Hood, Sly Cooper…these characters bleed coolness. When we read the premise of ‘Scoundrel Society’ on Kickstarter we instantly backed it. Every player gets a randomly assigned oldy time thief with their own ‘Grift’ special move and ‘Knack’ passive ability. In the middle of the table is the ‘mark’, the person or locale you’re competing to take the most loot from, and the deck of items you can swipe.
Every round consists of each player choosing an action card from their hand (everyone has the same set of five) and playing it face down. They are revealed at the same time and resolved. If you’re the only one to play an action of that type your action is more effective. The actions allow you to steal from the mark or other players and add them to your ‘controlled loot’, or move your loot to your stash. Once an item is in the stash it is safe from the other players, but many offer bonuses that only work when they’re in your hand.
Every item of loot has a ‘value’ and ‘suspicion’ rating. At the end of the game the player or players with the highest suspicion score gets nicked by the cops and is out of the competition. Out of those still standing the one with the highest value takes home the honour of being the best thief. As you can imagine the highest value items of loot also have the highest suspicion. You get a balancing act where you want to collect the highest value or most useful items but can’t afford to draw too much suspicion as the end of the game can come about at an unexpected point.
The other mind tickling mechanic is the careful use of action cards. Everyone has the same five, and once they’re played they’re in the discard pile until you’ve used them all and can collect them back up. You’ll have to keep an eye on everyone else’s moves and the loot they have in front of them to gauge when you play your cards. This is a game that requires a crafty disposition to succeed in.
Being part of Action Phase Games (best known for the excellent ‘Heroes Wanted’) new series of ‘Little Box Big Fun’ games, it has a straightforward presentation. The design isn’t flash but it’s easy to pick up and play, with a huge range of loot items that are all completely unique. From a copper coin to the Ark of the Covenant, every piece of loot has it’s own unique value in the game. The wooden finger print and top hat tokens to signify suspicion and player turn add to the simple charm that belies a complex strategic game. If you’re looking for some fun ribbing and backstabbing, this is a cool little addition to your collection.